Chipotle is testing plant-based chorizo in Denver and Indianapolis – its first new protein made from alternative ingredients in seven years.
The company developed its chorizo alternative internally, shunning Beyond Meat and Impossible, which have recently struck deals with other fast food-chains for meat alternatives on their menus. Chipotle currently serves sofritas, a spicy tofu, and occasionally sells real chorizo.
Chipotle’s plant-based corizo is made with a lot of seasoning including ancho chili and smoked paprika and combined with a “natural protein sourced from freshly grown peas,” it explained in a press release. Chipotle’s chorizo is vegan and has 20 grams of protein per serving.
It’s using its “stage-gate process” to test the chorizo before bringing the plant-based alternative nationwide. Recent menu items that started in a few US cities before expanding nationwide include its riced cauliflower, carne asada and its popular quesadilla.
Chipotle is having a strong summer, despite raising its menu prices by about 3.5% to 4% to cover the cost of higher wages for employees and ingredients. In the second quarter, revenue grew 39% to $1.9 billion. Sales at restaurants open at least 13 months spiked 31%.
Shares of Chipotle (CMG) is up 40% this year.